The importance of an emergency care plan after spinal cord injury

2nd December 2021

The importance of an emergency care plan after spinal cord injury

Zoe Beviss, Major Trauma Case Handler at Higgs LLP, explains why it’s prudent to have a care plan in place after a spinal cord injury.

A spinal cord injury can occur either as a result of an accident or through complications during spinal surgery. It is a serious physical trauma that can have lasting impacts on a person’s life.

As legal partners of The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), we support people who have suffered spinal cord injury and have first-hand experience of how it can affect all aspects of daily life.

One of the most important things to ensure after a spinal cord injury is that a care plan is in place, which ensures the person’s needs are met when they are in a non-specialist hospital.

The SIA can provide two care plans: My Personal Care Plan or An Emergency Care Plan.

My Personal Care Plan

This type of plan provides healthcare professionals with information about an injured party prior to admission to a non-specialist centre or hospital. This care plan documents what the usual care plan needs are on a daily basis. This includes what medication is taken, pressure care, bowel care and bladder care. It allows the injured party to provide further information on their daily regime, including what equipment is needed to maintain independence.  

To access a copy of the plan, click here. The plan can be completed by the injured party, carers or family members. This care plan is useful if there was to be a Social Services or Continuing Healthcare Funding assessment. It would also be useful if the injured person is due to go into hospital for elective surgery. 

An Emergency Care Plan

This type of plan is different in that it cannot be completed by the injured party but must instead be completed by an SIA specialist nurse and then becomes a clinical document. The injured party would have a consultation with one of the specialist nurses who would complete the Emergency Care Plan on their behalf. The document would then be sent to the individual to use if they were ever admitted into hospital as an emergency. 

SIA specialist nurses have expertise in assessing and managing the fluctuating levels of care and dependency over the course of an illness. This is especially important if someone is taken ill to the extent that they are unable to communicate their needs. This care plan can be seen by the hospital to ensure all needs are met. This might include the patient needing a pressure relief mattress, or ensuring the person is turned at specific time intervals to ensure skin care is not compromised. Often, SIA nurses have succeeded in getting the document uploaded to patient’s hospital records, thus ensuring needs are always met. 

The development of a spinal cord injury can be unpredictable so it is vital that a care plan is in place as a safeguard.

At Higgs LLP, we’re passionate about providing holistic support to clients and families following spinal cord injury, implementing gold standard private case management, rehabilitation and long-term care. 

Contact me on 01384 327374 or


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